Preface to the First Edition
My Dear Children
When Joshua was about to cross the Jordan with the Ark of the Covenant to enter the Promised Land, he was commanded by the Lord to select one man from each tribe to take charge of the ark who, "out of the midst of Jordan where the Priests' feet stood firm," were "to take twelve stones; carry them over with them, and lay them down in the lodging place where they should lodge that night" Joshua complied with these instructions and when the people came up out of Jordan, the Lord said to them, "When your children shall ask their father in time to come saying, What mean these stones? Then ye shall let your children know saying, 'Israel came over this Jordan on dry land. For the Lord your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you until ye were passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea which he dried up from before us until we were passed over; that all the people of the earth may know the hand of the Lord that is mighty, that they may fear the Lord your God forever.'"
The duty here imposed by the Lord upon Joshua and his followers to commemorate the passage of Israel in safety through the Red Sea and over Jordan, was not a duty imposed merely to meet a temporary exigency of a transient population, but like all duties imposed by Jehovah- Lord was of universal application, and as enduring as Truth and Right; and every person who has the grace to realize that he has been led by the same mighty hand and outstretched arm safely out of the bondage of false doctrines and through a wilderness beset with temptations and peril, into the freedom of those whom the Truth makes free, is bound to testify by some equally unequivocal memorial a grateful sense of his deliverance.
Under the inspiration of this sacred lesson, and in the humble hope of rendering my experience possibly of use to you and perhaps to some others, I have prepared the following narrative of the circumstances which led to my own deliverance from a spiritual bondage no less oppressive and degrading, nor, I imagine, very different from that which the Israelites endured in Egypt. I hope that with God's blessing it may help you to remember the Red Sea and the Jordan which every regenerating soul must cross, and encourage you on the journey to put your trust absolutely and exclusively in the guidance and protection of Him who never leaves a prayer unanswered; who never refuses an appeal to Him but in mercy, and who never neglects an opportunity of promoting the welfare of any of His creatures
21 Gramercy Park, New York, Christmas, 1893.